In a recent blog, we discuss why connected construction software is integral for smoothly operating your business. We also dove deep into job costing and how ERP construction management systems make job costing easier and more efficient. In this blog, we’ll explore how cloud construction management software, such as Acumatica Construction Edition, can simplify your subcontractor management needs.
General Contractors, Subcontractors and Challenges
As a construction professional, you understand how the construction hierarchy works.
Construction projects range in size and complexity, and every project requires someone to manage logistics. This someone is a General Contractor (GC), who is hired either directly by a customer or by a Construction Manager of a construction company.
Each project comes with its own specific requirements, and the GC oversees every aspect. After bidding and winning the job, the GC is responsible for managing budgets, scheduling, materials, labor and equipment, while also liaising with the client.
Most projects require specialized contractors to assist with concrete, electrical, plumbing, heating and AC requests. The GC hires, coordinates and pays the subcontractors, and the subcontractors supervise their own crews, equipment and scheduling.
Though GCs and subcontractors have designated roles within a project, challenges still occur, especially if the construction company for whom the GC works (or the GC) uses multiple, aging applications and manual processes to manage the project. These challenges affect the efficiency and profitability of a construction project.
One of the major challenges stemming from not using modern technology is the lack of communication and collaboration. As a Construction Executive (CE) article puts it, “The success of any construction project can be measured by the level of collaboration and communication between parties. If communication between general contractors and subcontractors is dysfunctional or non-existent, problems will arise that ultimately affect working relationships, project schedules and budgets.”
The CE article specifically examines the change order process, which it says is still largely communicated via emails, spreadsheets and paper forms. This form of communication, especially with changes to the scope of the project, is inefficient and leads to big problems. Add in the fact that tracking project cost information within internal and disconnected financial systems and not sharing the information with all shareholders sets the construction project up to becoming unprofitable.
“Without a simple way to keep track of change order costs, construction teams are left in the dark when it comes to their real-time financial exposure. Subcontractors must keep track of paper extra work tags, regularly compile change order logs, and submit them to their general contractor hoping they get approved and paid in a timely manner,” the article notes. “General contractors are constantly running down updated change order request (COR) logs from their subcontractors, praying they won’t get hit with a bunch of surprise change orders that they weren’t expecting down the road.”
So, how can you fix this lack of communication, as well as other subcontractor challenges, such as managing payroll for multiple subcontractors? The answer lies in implementing construction management software within a Cloud ERP solution (a.k.a. construction management ERP software).
Subcontractor Management Simplified with Acumatica Construction Edition
Finding the construction management ERP software that fits your unique requirements is the first step in overcoming subcontractor challenges. Evaluating construction ERP software options starts with understanding what the software does for you. Let’s use Acumatica Construction Edition as an example.
A single platform offering, it helps you manage your construction services, from financials and cost estimates to job hours, payroll and contract management and from compliance and customer relationship management to advanced material management and change management, in one location. It’s a cloud-based solution, which means you have 24/7 access to company-wide data in real time (from anywhere). Not only are you able to share this accurate and synchronized data with every team member, including your subcontractors, but your visibility and control over every construction project is increased exponentially.
The benefits of selecting Acumatica Construction Edition as your construction management ERP software are many:
- One centralized database
- Capture real-time job costs with approval workflows, flexible cost structures, and document management
- Pull mobile time reports, equipment timecards, field receipts, and invoices from staff, subs and suppliers
- Real-time job costing
- Personalized and flexible dashboards
- Flexible project billing types
- Expedited invoicing
- Simplified commitment management
- On demand WIP reporting
Additional benefits include increased collaboration between all team members and effective management of your cash flow, thereby increasing your profit margins. There are even more benefits, which can be found in NexTec’s complimentary Construction Management ERP Selection Guide, and which can also be seen in the experience of construction company Carlson-LaVine Inc.
The company offers development, planning, building, and operating services and specialize in healthcare, banking and grocery construction. For almost 25 years, it operated on Sage 300 CRE, struggling with manual processes, Excel spreadsheets, and multiple servers. In the last few years, Carlson-LaVine added Procore, and its functionality confirmed the need for a new business solution.
At the recommendation of colleagues, the company researched Acumatica Construction Edition and found that it was the right solution. In addition to acquiring an integrated solution, automating processes, increasing productivity, reducing payroll processing time and streamlining operations, Carlson-LaVine has improved communications with—and is providing timely information for—subcontractors.
Says Executive Director Matthew Shamp in the company’s Acumatica Customer Success Story, “With Acumatica, I’m giving employees an ultra-efficient tool they need to do their jobs correctly and allowing them to do things easier. I’m handing them a smartphone versus a rotary phone. They are more well-equipped to do their jobs, which produces good outcomes for customers and helps us grow our business.”
Acumatica Cloud ERP: Construction Edition is Built to Connect Your Business
To reiterate, Acumatica Construction Edition provides industry-specific features and functionality to improve the way you as a construction professional works. It is a true Cloud solution that provides a consistent experience for all users, whether they access the system from a phone, tablet or desktop. Acumatica’s unique pricing structure focuses on the computing resources a company uses, not the numbers of user licenses needed. This means that the solution grows with your company, and you’ll only pay for what you use.
NexTec Group can help you select and implement the right ERP for your business. We are a gold-certified Acumatica implementation partner with more than 26 years of experience in the consulting industry. We take a holistic approach to integrating the many moving parts of your business to remove the manual guesswork and improve your ROI. With deep industry experience in construction, NexTec understands the challenges construction companies face and provides solutions tailored to their specific needs.
Ready to take the next step? Reach out to us. We’d love to chat.